History of Reiki

mikao usuiUsui- Sensei is the founder of Reiki.

Mikao Usui was born in the Village of Taniai – Mura in the Yamagata District of Gifu-Ken Chuubu Chihou near Kyoto, Japan on 15th August 1865. His family were descended from Hatamoto Samurai.

Dr Usui grew up in Japanese society going through rapid change.

He grew up a Tendai Buddhist and had a brother and two sisters.

At a young age he entered a Tendai Budhist Monstery near Mount Karuma. He studied Kiko (the Japanese version of Chi Kung) to a advanced level, and he was exposed to martial arts. He began martial arts training, gaining his teachers license in his twenties. He continued this training and attained a high level of expertise in several other of the most ancient Japanese methods.

MikaoUsui injured hardships, lack of money and work in his younger years. He had many different jobs.

Usui-Sensei (as his students called him) married Sadako Suzuki and they had two children. Their son Fuji was born in 1908 and died in 1946. Their daughter Toshiko was born in 1913.

Dr Usui received his Reiki ability on Mount Kurama where he carried out a twenty one day fast (this is why we do the twenty one day cleanse with each Reiki Level.) He had a need to learn more about self-healing and healing others . He went to Mount Kurama to meditate and experienced enlightenment that lead to the development of his Usui-Do and finally Reiki.

From this time onwards he was teaching some sort of spiritual development system which later became Reiki.

In April 1922 Usui-Sensei’s first Reiki Center in Harajuku was opened. In 1923 Usui-Sensei introduced his first grading system. This system was in use until 1925.

In 1923 a great earthquake occurred near Tokyo, killing and injuring thousands. Mikao Usui’s help to the survivors made him famous all over Japan. His system shifted to include healing other people instead of being a self improvement system.

In Februray 1924 he moved to Nakano to larger premises.

In 1925 Dr Chujiro Hayashi began Reiki training with Mikao Usui. In June of 1925 he received Sandan Training (which is the lower Levels of Master Training.)

In 1925 he taught some naval officers and changed the structure of the way he taught Reiki to accommodate them. A different system of energy work began to emerge alongside Usui-Do with a different focus on working on other people than oneself. This was referred to as Usui Reiki Ryoho. A new system of grading came into being at this time. Four new Levels were introduced (the system we follow today.) In Janurary 1926 the grading system was changed again.

Mikao Usui had several strokes in his later years and passed away on March 9th 1926.

hayashi-1Dr Chujiro Hayashi was born on September 15th 1880 in Tokyo. His wife Chie was born in 1887.

He graduated from the Japanese Naval School on December 2nd 1902. He was a Captain in the Imperial Navy and a qualified Naval Doctor.

Dr Hayashi was one of Dr Usui’s less experienced Reiki Masters. He trained for a period of nine months. To become a Reiki Master took many years of training.

Dr Hayashi and some other naval officers founded the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, a memorial society set up after the death of Dr Usui. Although, one of the founders of the Gakkai, Dr Hayashi left due to nationalism within the society.

Soon after he completed his studies with Dr Usui, Hayashi opened his own Clinic. He worked with other Reiki healers. During this time he worked on his own training manual (the Usui Reiki Hikkei) a project he began with Usui’s help. He introduced a set of standard hand positions relating to specific illnesses. Dr usui’s interest was to see if his spiritual development system could work as a independent healing system. This guide to hand positions for different ailments is based on trying to adjust Reiki into the medical role of diagnosis where a particular aliment is delineated and then a set of hand positions are prescribed as a treatment to deal with it which is very different fro Dr Usui’s simple and intuitive approach to the healing aspect of Reiki.

In 1931 he founded his own Reiki society called Hayashi Reiki Kenyu-Kai. Due to the major changes he made to the system of healing he had been taught by Dr Usui he felt he was honor bound to change the name of the system. Dr Hayashi’s teaching was focused mainly on hands-on healing and Dr Usui’s original intent as Reiki as a personal development system was left behind.

Dr Hayashi took his own life on May 10th 1940 because of the build up of nationalism and the threat of war. His wife Chie continued on as President of his school teaching in the 1940’s, but their children did not continue the Clinic.

On December 24th 1900 Hawayo Kawmaru (later Takata) was born in Hanamaulu, Kauai, Hawaii. Her parents were Japanese immigrants.

takataShe married Saichi Takata, the bookkeeper of the plantation where she was employed. They had two daughters. In 1930 Saichi died leaving Mrs Takata alone to raise their childern. In order to take care of her family she had to work very hard. After five years of continuous hard work and family pressure she developed severe abdominal pains, a lung condition and a nervous breakdown.

She went to a hospital in Tokoy for a operation and while there heard about Reiki and decided to try it. She went to Dr Hayashi’s Clinic and received Reiki and her health improved. She asked Dr Hayashi to teach her Reiki.

Dr Hayashi taught her Reiki I in the Spring of 1936 and one year later he gave her Level II. During 1937 she returned to Hawaii, followed shortly by Dr Hayashi. Due to her persistence he taught her the Master Level in 1938. He gave her permission to teach Reiki in the West and she did so in America.

Between 1970 and her death in 1980 she taught twenty-two Reiki Masters. Until recently, all Reiki Practitoners in the Western World derived their Reiki from Mrs Takata and could place her lineage through her to Dr Hayashi and Mikao Usui. Those Reiki Masters have passed on the Reiki style of Mrs Takata and Reiki has spread throughout the World.

It was not easy for Mrs Takata to begin teaching a Japanese healing technique in America. After World War II, memories of Pearl Harbour were still fresh in most people’s minds. They were not well disposed of anything connected to Japan or Japanese culture. Alternative medicine was not well known. For this reason she was forced to modify, simplify and change the Reiki she had been taught in order to make it acceptable to the American people. Mrs Takata not only changed the way she taught Reiki but also put together a very different story about the history of Reiki, to make it more acceptable. Usui the Tendai Buddhist disappeared and became Usui the Christian Theologian and spiritual seeker who travelled the world to try to discover a healing system that explained the miracles Jesus performed. Stories Dr Usui being a Christian are not true.

Mrs Takata passe away on December 11th 1980. She did not name anyone Successor before she died, and as a result many have appointed themselves with the title including Barbara Weber Ray and Phyllis Lei Furumoto.

Two years after her death, some of the Reik Masters she initiated met as a memorial to her and to share information. They formed the Reik Alliance under the leadership of Mrs Takata’s granddaughter,Mrs Phyllis Furumoto. The Alliance represents Traditional Reiki . It presents the Hayashi-Takata lineage (not the Usui techniques.)Barbara Weber Ray also claimed the title of grandmaster and claimed to have the original Reiki. Eventually, she changed the name of the process she taught to Radiance Technique.

This explains the changes that took place in Reiki after Mrs Takata’s transition.

The title of Grandmaster has been reserved in traditional Usui reiki for the pioneers who are responsible for bringing Reiki into the world. It is a title of honor and respect for those whose efforts made Reiki available to so many people. These include Mikao Usui, Chujiro Hayashi and Hawayo Takata.